Cyber Warfare and the Challenges That Exist in the Cyber Domain

Cyber Warfare and the Challenges That Exist in the Cyber Domain

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4162-3.ch006
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This chapter studies the cyber warfare phenomenon in all its dimensions in order to provide a wide conceptualization of factors and elements, strategies, generations, and theoretical models. On the second part of the chapter, a set of definitions is introduced in order to gain a common field of conceptual agreement for the explanation of the main theoretical models that have been developed for the cyber domain. The third section presents the dual cyber warfare model applicable to military and corporate environments. The authors conclude that cyber warfare is perhaps the most radical consequence of the knowledge era and must be systematically analyzed from both perspectives: empirical-practical and theoretical-conceptual.
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Cyber Warfare

In order to understand cyber warfare in the digital age, we require to review how information warfare has transformed over time. Changes have been taking place in the technological, organizational and environmental areas.

Ryan et al. (2015) introduced three information warfare generations (IW 1.0, IW 2.0 and IW 3.0) that started with the use of information until our days with the growth of cyber warfare capabilities.

  • 1.

    First generation (IW 1.0): Information in warfare started from the beginning of sentience to around the 1940s. Information was used as a leverage function. Some strategists like Sun Tzu, Napoleon Bonaparte and Carl von Clausewitz did concentrate in using information instead of engaging in combat. Main features of this time included the protection of information to reinforce and enhance conventional warfare.

  • 2.

    Second generation (IW 2.0): Information as warfare emerged from World War II to roughly the 1980s. Important contributions like operations research development to leverage information in the engineering, information systems and the military fields. Information sophistication was instrumental to develop new ways to manage strategic operations. Some milestones that revolutionized this generation were the transistor era, electronic databases, packet-based networks, consumer electronics and the Internet commercialization.

  • 3.

    Third generation (IW 3.0): Information as a warfighting domain is the period that we are currently living. Nowadays, information warfare is considered the warfare fifth domain similar to land, air, sea and space. Information warfare is something new and many stakeholders do not really know how to approach this concept. Scholars suggested that information warfare must include Electronic Countermeasures (ECM), Electronic Counter-Countermeasures (ECCM) and influence operations. New terms were added to our current generation including Computer Network Attack (CNA), Information Operations (IO), Computer Network Defense (CND) and Computer Network Exploitation (CNE).

These warfare generations are very differently from each other in terms of used artifacts and its effects, older information warfare generations are meaningful to perceive the current cyber warfare and cyberspace architecture. Countries will continue to create or update its national cybersecurity strategies, policies or programmes and ideally a section to address the protection, defense and cyber retaliation of national cyber assets and critical infrastructure must be included.



We intent to provide some previous definitions of cyber warfare components, although universal acceptance of these concepts has not been reached yet. We need to clarify nine critical components in our study, while global clearness may represent a great disadvantage for standardization of these terms. The following definitions are still under debate globally:

  • 1.

    Cyberspace: The new arena for cyber related issues and challenges takes place in cyberspace- But what is cyberspace?

According to Kuehl (2009), his definition involves an operational space, a natural domain, it is based on information and between interconnected networks:

A global domain within the information environment whose distinctive and unique character is framed by the use of electronics and the electromagnetic spectrum to create, modify, exchange and exploit information via interdependent and interconnected networks using information-communication technologies.

McQuade (2006) defines it as “that amorphous realm through which the exchange of digitized information takes place.”

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